Chirac says Turkey's EU bid 'not a done deal'

27th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 27 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac said Wednesday that Turkey's EU membership bid was "not a done deal," although he believed it was in Europe's best interests, a government spokesman reported after a cabinet meeting.

PARIS, Oct 27 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac said Wednesday that Turkey's EU membership bid was "not a done deal," although he believed it was in Europe's best interests, a government spokesman reported after a cabinet meeting.

"It is for Turkey to do the necessary to join the European Union, not for the EU to adapt to Turkey," he was quoted as telling ministers.

Speaking a day after talks in Berlin which included Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, he restated his "conviction that it is in the interests of France and Europe that Turkey can in the long term join the European Union if all the criteria are fulfilled."

"It will demand a considerable effort by Turkey and a lot of time, and it's not a done deal," he added, saying that negotiations could take "at least 15 years."

Having received a positive recommendation from the European Commission on Ankara's membership claim, EU leaders are to decide on December 17 whether - and if so, when - to open negotiations.

Chirac has already indicated his support, but many in his ruling party, in the opposition and among the French public are against Turkey's membership.

Briefing the cabinet on the talks in Berlin, the president outlined three scenarios.

One was that Ankara's efforts to match EU standards would lead to a formal membership treaty, which would then have to be ratified by a referendum which Chirac has promised to hold in France.

A second scenario was that negotiations would fail and the whole process would be suspended.

The third was that talks would stumble over "fundamental issues," forcing Brussels and Ankara to find another solution short of membership - a scenario favoured by many of the opponents to Turkish membership.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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